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Ja’Marr Chase non-touchdown would have been a touchdown, if challenged

One day after the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, the Pittsburgh Steelers will retire Franco Harris’ No. 32 to honor the four-time Super Bowl champ and Hall of Famer.

Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Cincinnati, with the Bengals down by six points, quarterback Joe Burrow connected with receiver Ja’Marr Chase for a 12-yard gain that could have, should have, and would have been a 13-yard gain and a touchdown.

It appeared that Chase had the ball over the goal line for a six-pointer that would have tied the game at 20, pending the extra point. The ruling on the field was that Chase did not score. Because it happened with more than two minutes to play, a review would have happened only if the Bengals had challenged the play.

Per multiple sources, the replay process would have indeed resulted in the ruling on the field being overturned. The Bengals would have gotten a touchdown.

They eventually did, after failing to score on four tries and getting the ball back after forcing a Pittsburgh punt. It never would have come to that, however, if the Bengals had challenged the play. And there would have been more time for either team to win the game in regulation.

The situation highlights one of the unusual quirks of the review process. If the ruling on the field had been touchdown, an automatic review would have happened. Because the ruling was no touchdown, the Bengals had to activate the process.

There’s another issue that prevented the non-touchdown from becoming a touchdown. The Bengals rushed to the line of scrimmage to call the next play, for some reason. If they had not, the ruling on the field of a non-touchdown likely would have been overturned by the modified sky-judge procedure.

It’s unclear why the Bengals moved quickly. Time wasn’t an issue. Perhaps they were concerned that the Steelers planned to challenge the catch. Regardless, the right outcome likely would have happened if the Bengals hadn’t moved so quickly to get to the next snap -- they would have had a touchdown.